The Three Scariest Parts of Custom Homebuilding
Nobody wants to live in a home that is just ok. A home should be perfect for you down to the last detail. Unfortunately, when buying a home that is already built, other people had a say in the look and feel of the home, and you may find yourself settling for something you don’t really like. So why not build a custom home? At AV Architects + Builders, we encounter the three biggest fears homeowners have when it comes to building a custom home. We have deliberately designed our process around addressing these fears.
Fear Number One: What’s it going to look like?
As much as people fantasize about their ideal home, putting all the pieces together to visualize it is pretty hard. When buying an existing home, or a home in a development that features models of each home being constructed, a homeowner can physically check out the space and make decisions about some minor changes like paint color on site. A custom home is unique each time, so there are no examples to physically visit. Architectural drawings may work for the architects, builders and agents, but the average person can’t raise the walls of a two-dimensional drawing to get a sense of the space, and 3-D renderings from those drawings are often lacking. Homeowners just have to hope that their vision matches the architect’s and wait for the finished product.
We use BIMx as an integral part of our process to let the homeowner truly “see” the finished product. An immersive 3-D experience of the completed house and yard, BIMx lets the homeowner move from space to space throughout the house and the yard and actually see ceiling heights, flow, open and closed doors, as well most other details of the house. For over ten years, we have taken the time to create this experience so that the homeowner doesn’t have to guess and hope; they actually know what they will see when they drive up the driveway of their new home.
Fear Number Two: How much will it cost?
In residential construction, 80% of projects run 30% over budget. Change orders in the middle of the job cause most of the overage. Some of these grow out of the realization by the homeowner that the home being built doesn’t match their own vision. The other, primary reason for change orders is that a typical custom home will be designed and priced with “allowances” for items like tile, appliances, and windows. The homeowner only begins to make the decision about these items after construction has begun, and sometimes their preference runs over the allowance. Other times, the owner picks an item like an appliance that requires a change in the layout of the cabinetry, and an additional cost for that change. Ordering any of these items might lead to a delay, which creates an additional cost.
We work with our clients to get the big picture up front. Together, we make all of the detail selections before construction begins. This eliminates the unknown costs in allowances, lets the orders for these items go out in advance, and prevents cost overruns from change orders. If the homeowner’s preferences lead to a higher budget than they hoped for, they have the full picture of all the costs, which lets them decide where they want to make adjustments.
Fear Number Three: How long will it take?
From selling their existing home to simply managing their expectations, homeowners worry that a custom home will take years to complete. Construction has a reputation for running long, and finish dates can be moving targets. Homeowners worry that they can’t rely on timelines furnished by the architect or the builder.
As architects who build, we are involved with the project from start to finish, and we have gained in-depth knowledge of the time frames at issue in every phase. As design builders in the Northern Virginia area, we know how permitting, weather, and item delivery times can impact the schedule, and we take this into account when setting expectations. Just as making decisions about the many details of the house up front is more effective in managing the cost, our up-front, Big Picture, approach means that we don’t see delays due to late delivery of a critical part of the construction. We can give the client a clear, achievable timeline that they can rely on.
Our process brings clarity on budget, design expectations and timeline because we use the right tools and we do the extra work up front. We take the fear out of the custom home building process and deliver dream homes to owners who will feel like they are on vacation year-round. Contact AV Architects + Builders for a free consultation about your fear-free custom home building dreams.